D&D Larry Elmore TSR

You could make that argument that Easley, Parkinson, or Caldwell shaped the destiny of D&D and TSR in the early 1980s, but in reality that is like comparing the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, or the Eagles to The Beatles.  At the end of the day, any sane person knows there is no comparison as they are all had a telling impact on the industry.  Below are some pieces from Larry Elmore I think changed the landscape of the RPG industry, and I'd love to hear if you agree or disagree.

Mentzer 'Red Box'... Now if the Red Box isn't as iconic to gamers as the Trampier PHB, then I don't know what is.

'The Death of Sturm', this scene was so powerful I threw Dragons of a Winter Night across my 10th Grade English classroom and Elmore truly did it justice!

Shadowrun, single-handedly brought the dystopian RPG genre to the masses.  You might credit that FASA in general, but as this image graced the 1st & 2nd Edition covers, you know how important it was.

Death of Aleena: Larry broke upwards of a hundred thousand young men's hearts with the death of Aleena the Cleric, and without his rendition of her, I'd so no one would have cared much.

Watch who you hit on... And many folks thought Clyde Caldwell defined vampires with Ravenloft... not so fast Clyde.

Star Frontiers... Before this role-players thought space opera was a black booklet where characters died in character creation.  Elmore opened our eyes to a fantastic and beautiful science fiction universe.

Innocence in the big fantasy city will ever be defined for me by this piece.

Clarion: One of the finest examples of ink-wash you will ever see, Clarion the Cleric from D&D Basic.

D&D Expert, and the definition of character advancement in art

Dragons of Autumn Twilight launched TSR into a fiction publishing house and brought D&D to the pure reading masses.  For me, this image hasn't aged a day.

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  • Michael on

    For me, the Shadowrun image really drew me in and sold me on Shadowrun. That image define what Shadowrun was and still is for me.

  • Scott on

    @Red Mage: YOU ARE SOOOO RIGHT on that one. It (and of course Parkinson’s boxed set cover) defined what the Forgotten Realms are for me.

  • Red Mage on

    I would also include Mr. Elmore’s fantastic work on the Crystal Shard book cover on this list. Not only did it define one of the Forgotten Realms’ most iconic characters of the past three decades, and possibly ever, it is simply a stunning work of art. Everything from the expressions on the characters’ faces, to the weapons and armor they carry, to the background and environment behind them are all beautifully crafted and add an element of realism I never saw anywhere else by any other artist; I always loved that Bruennor has steam for breath. It remains not only one of my favorite pieces of Mr. Elmore’s, but of any fantasy artist.

  • Michael Donovan on

    “Clarion the Cleric” looks just like the girl wielding the bola in the “New Weapons” chapter in the beginning of the “Player’s Companion” book.

  • Michael on

    Given that this article is a personal opinion it’s logical people will disagree on the specifics. I do as well. However I Larry Elmore’s art did much to flesh out the game and it’s settings in many instances. Are there ten Elmore pieces I think did more than these? You bet. Just like there are pieces from other artists that did a lot.

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